We’re all mad here…

As I enter my forth week of isolation in my bunker a.k.a my bedroom, I’m beginning to feel slightly askew. I’m not sleeping or eating properly and I feel really all over the place. Kind of like Alice when she made it to Wonderland.

The one thing that has truly kept me going this whole time is my family, friends and magic. I was chatting with my friend and colleague John Carey over the weekend and he said something that made me extremely thankful for this wonderful world we have as magicians. He told me to remember,

“At least we have magic!”

Unlike others who don’t have something like this in their lives. We, magicians have a focus, a drive and a skill that requires feeding. There are alway things to practice, people to work and jam with and an opulent history of literature to browse.

It’s the time to let your imagination soar…

This week I was surprised by the arrival of a book I have wanted for quite sometime. The book I got was Pure Imagination by Andi Gladwin Scott Robinson. Every time I spotted this delightfully delicious looking book it kept enticing me to buy it. So I did, as an Isolation treat for myself.

So far I have only worked on the first two effects and I cannot believe the mileage I have got out them. These weird and imaginative effects are fuelling my creativity. The amalgamation of unusual material and the strange mindset I am in works beautifully.

Curiouser and curiouser…

 “Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it!

I have a major problem as a performer and isolation is really bringing this out in me BIG TIME! I am sadly a perfectionist.

The more material I read and discover, the more I challenge myself. The more I challenge myself the more things I find I cannot do and when I do them, even with all the hours practicing in a day, to me, it’s still imperfect.

One of my personal goals during this apocalypse is to help myself let go of this perfect ideal. As at times it really drags me down and I feel that I’m not good enough (for what exactly, I wish I knew).

One of the ways I am trying to do this is by creating and working with loads of different magic that is alien for me. If I force myself out of my comfort zone daily, I have to stand up and face this perfection problem head on. And I can either curl up into a ball and melt into the wall or I can get up and do something about it.

Learning these strange effects from Pure Imagination has allowed me to think outside box. Challenging my thinking as to how I would present them in my own way. So far they have been far from perfect. Yet, the ideas are original and my own. Here is my version of the effect ‘Toy’ inspired by a theme of Light and Dark.

“Have i gone mad?

I’m afraid so, but let me tell you something, the best people usualy are.”

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Falling down the rabbit hole…

For me, in isolation, there’s a pattern forming. I create a mess, clean and then mess it up again. My room is daily like the hole of Calcutta. Yet it is so worth it for the amount of stuff I have experimented with over the last four weeks. Don’t be afraid of mess. Embrace your inner demon and trash your room for magic!

The second effect from Scott’s book The Willy Wonka Card Trick I admit I struggled with, and still do. Big shout out to Scott for sending me through video tutorials helping me to see visually what exactly it is and where all my fingers should go. This little piece is amazing – but I need to work at it.

It’s so important to find what works for you.

If however I am going to perform this effect, I had to find a reason for it and why. And not just because it’s SO COOL to do. So after a few days pondering it and practicing it. I actually came up with an idea that suited me to use the effect. The Idea I came up with was: Find a Lady. Here’s my process as to how I got to this idea.

If I’m going to make something momentarily disappear what is the thinking behind it? Well, the queen that is used in find a lady card tricks needs to know sneaky ways to vanish right? That fits perfectly with Scott’s vanish effect – for me.

Once I had this idea, I began to concoct a story and over the space of three hours this evening. Relating to what I said earlier… it’s not perfect. Although I grit my teeth when I say this, I’m ok that it is not perfect because I am now going to work on it till it is.

If I think about the process in which this tiny effect began and went on to what I produced this evening, it’s mind-blowing. Here’s the step by step Arkane creative process.

  1. Read Scott Robinson’s effect.
  2. Practiced it – failed!
  3. Scott Reached out and assisted.
  4. With visuals I understood the handling.
  5. Found a reason to use the effect with Find a Lady premise.
  6. Jammed with Tom Stone. He suggested that I have three tens and I produce the queen from them.
  7. Had no idea how to do that. Failed, again!
  8. Played around and got a method to change a ten into a queen, nailed it!
  9. Added in a sign to point out “Find a Lady.”
  10. Practiced and recorded and watched back the routine over the course of three full hours to realise that the envelope is the key, but I’m not sure why.
  11. EUREKA – The queen must return to the envelope!

My process in a nutshell.

However the frustration, time and effort to put this altogether truly was trying, and I did want to give up. Kind of like I didn’t want to write this blog post this week either. Hence why I’m publishing it at 4am this morning.

You can do anything you set your mind too. Make the impossible possible. Don’t aim for perfection. Do the best you can and learn to let it go.

Strive above all for progress.

It’s time to climb back out that Rabbit hole!

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